New & upgraded linear Z - we're builders so lets build

That’s an interesting question I had not considered yet, does UGCS support the probe?

As always awesome work. I look forward to the progress!

From what I can tell you can use any probe with UGCS but you have to program it in.

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First off --> AWESOME modification, think I might just have to try something like this as well as I spend much more time working aluminum that I do anything else…

Personally I am a HUGE fan of bCNC --> it’ll run on just about anything, allows probing, auto-leveling, auto-homing with limit-switches, camera/spindle alignment, etc. Oh, and its FREE. I’ve been using it since I first got my SO3 XXL 18-months ago and have rarely, if ever, had an issue caused by it.

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Ok what is this camera/spindle alignment you speak of!? If it is what I think it is it could save me a lot of time.

Quick link to the Wiki for it --> hxxps://
I have even seen it being used to determine how something is laying on the bed for double-sided milling…

On my rig (I have a 1.5KW 80mm water-cooled spindle) I use one of these as my camera --> hxxps://
Mounted using 2 hose clamps to the spindle body below the spindle mounting bracket. The cable is more than long enough to route through all the cable trays and it works great with its own built in light.

OK, one more edit! You can also use the view camera remotely while running the machine. bCNC has a web-server built in that allows you to control/view the system in any web-browser. When I am working on multiple projects, I just pop open the window in the corner of my desktop while I am working in Fusion360 --> this way I am not leaving the rig unattended and I can get other work done while babysitting a run.


Thank you for this and sorry for the tangent. I looked into this last night and only found some articles that were from 2015 and the cameras they were using were quite pricey from $60 - $150. Then someone suggested using lasers instead and how they were cheaper, then had a link to a laser system that was geared toward CNCs which was well over $200…

I did see this article but now I am going to read it more thoroughly. I always want to be sure before I bite the bullet and spend money.

Luke , I want to ask about the incorporation of the screw in the Z axis that has happened, I improve the cut, now it is more precise, I would like to hear your comments. :thought_balloon:

Hi Jose,

In short yes, I haven’t calibrated the Z, just set it to 400 micro steps per mm and it seems within 0.01 mm. I do plan to calibrate it but am waiting on a replacement gauge.

I have found less chatter when milling and so far it have not had any issues where Z gets blocked or jammed which was one the main reasons for making this.

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Luke . Would you think that a future project would be to change the belts by screws in X and Y?

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You read my mind! That is definitely what I wanted to ask @Luke next too :smiley:

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Absolutely, I designed the Z axis to accommodate a identicle setup for the x axis. All I need to do is mill a couple more guide brackets and it bolts right to the z carriage.

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At the risk of being a wet blanket, I’d question the benefit of screw driven X/Y on this machine;

The biggest mechanical shortcoming of the stock Z axis is that it’s held in neutral tension by springs, which are a wildly inaccurate way of doing this. POWER transmission is not typically an issue. I believe you’ll skip steps on the motors long before stretching or snapping a belt. The belts used on the S3 are mighty.

Luke’s awesome Z replacement solves the spring-tension issue, that’s it’s biggest pro, IMHO (not taking away from it :slight_smile: )

The X and Y axis don’t suffer the same issues as the Z when it comes to movement - they stay in place, all other things being equal, there’s no need for the mechanical contact of the thread walls to keep it stationary like there is on the Z.

Would it be cool? Heck yea! Lot’s of very nice machines use lead-screws for all their axis. I just wouldn’t do it in the name of improvement, per say.


You make some great points Adam and I agree.

I built the Z axis as I saw room for improvement, and whilst I built this to be upgradeable, I’m not sure I will ever push it any further. I might, but probably wont. If I were to do it were talking about a whole new machine not a Shapeoko. If I do that I’m out of the club :frowning:

The X and Y axis work well for me. I’m waiting for Carbide 3d to make a ball driven S3 with a slightly larger cutting area, say 50 x 50cm :smiley:


You’re not out of the club according to the rules as I wrote them:

Rule #10 — No matter how much you upgrade your machine, it is still a Shapeoko (and all upgrades to machines must be recorded in one’s signature line and documented in the wiki).

(from: Shapeoko CNC Router, Rigid, Accurate, Reliable, and Affordable )

Though I’ll admit at that point, you might need to switch over to the other forum.

That said, it’s both rather sad how fragmented the original community has gotten to be, and kinda cool how many different machine lines the Shapeoko has engendered.


That looks really good Luke, really looking forward to seeing the design files (if you intend to share them)

Certainly happy to share the files, I just want to run some more tests to make sure it’s fully operational.


Good to know on all accounts. @WillAdams I guess its the PC builder in me that always wants to upgrade :sweat_smile:

I want one Luke! Put me on the list haha

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